As a catering and hospitality consultant, and in my different roles as a food and beverage advisor, I help companies ranging from small B&Bs to huge university campuses nail their menus. For some reason, getting the breakfast offering can prove tricky, and I’m currently working with several hotels to reimagine and refine theirs.
So, what makes the perfect hotel breakfast?
I know what mine is – a huge fry up, a mound of toast and a steaming mug of good old English tea. I am a growing boy after all.
For leisure guests, breakfast might be the highlight of their stay. Usually accustomed to a quick bowl of cereal or slice of toast, they savour the prospect of being able to sit down and enjoy a more relaxed breakfast, with plenty of choice. I’ve visited 5* resorts where chefs carve slices from fresh salmon, make stacks of pancakes to your exact specifications and serve up breakfasts from around the world. No guest at a smaller, family run hotel would expect such a lavish offering, but they would like to choose between their usual Cornflakes and toast or the treat of a full English. With a bit more effort but no extra cost, allow guests to choose how they’d like their eggs cooked.
By including local produce on your menu, you’re also demonstrating your environmental and ethical awareness. Buying from local producers and suppliers means you’re cutting down on those all-important food miles and supporting your local economy.
While most guests focus on the food offering, drinks are just as important, so ensure you offer a great range of hot and cold options. Delicious fruit juices always go down a treat, and a variety of teas is just as appealing as different styles of coffee. Decaffeinated options are a must, and don’t overlook a simple jug of fresh water with lemon.
Make sure all dietary requirements are catered for. There are now plenty of tasty vegetarian and vegan options so no excuses there! And rather than simply complying with allergen legislation, go above and beyond for your guests with food allergies and intolerances. Offer a range of lactose-free milks, such as soy, almond and rice, and who would guess that waffles with raspberry lemon syrup, creamy banana porridge, and, hash browns with Gruyère & pancetta are all gluten free!
In reality, there is no perfect hotel breakfast. So as long as you design your menu with your guests’ expectations and requirements in mind and use good quality local ingredients, you really can’t go wrong.